Ok, so /. now has this neat Journal feature. I haven't used mine up until now, so here goes nothing....
Inspired by the Good Summer Read article, and needing some refresher material on basic math, before I take Calculus, I went down to Barnes and Noble tonight and snagged a nice haul of new books...
Here's what I got, in no particular order:
The Advent Of The Algorithm, by David Berlinski
I picked this up just because the title caught my eye, and I read the back cover description, and decided it might be fun to read. From the back cover: "In Advent of the Algorithm, David Berlinksi creatively combines history, science, and math to explain and explore the intriguing story of how the algorithm was finally discovered through a succession of brilliant mathematicians and logicians, and how their ideas paved the way for our digital age." Cool, huh?
Quick Arithmetic: A self-teaching guide, by Robert A Carman and Marilyn J. Carman
OK, laugh if you want. I'm about to return to school to finish my bachelors degree in computer science, and I'll need to take 3 semesters of Calculus to do so. Since the last math class I took was nearly 10 years ago, and math is definitely "use it or lose it" stuff, I decided to dig out my old pre-calc book the other day and start doing some review work. Much to my dismay, I found that I'd forgotten even more fundamental shit, hence this book.
Prisoner's Dilemma, by William Poundstone
From the San Francisco Chronicle review: "Both a fascinating biography of Von Neumann... and a brilliant social history of game theory and its role in the Cold War and nuclear arms race." This should be fun to read...
The Thirteen Books of the Elements, Euclid (translated with introduction and commentary by Sir Thomas L. Heath)
What can I say... I like math even if it's not something I'm naturally good at. Anybody who's really interested in math should have the Thirteen Books of the Elements on their shelf, and I'd put off buying this forever... tonight seemed like a good night to ahead and buy this classic set.
Trigonometric Delights, by Eli Maor
Just something else that caught my eye. Skimmed through it, and the back cover description was compelling enough to convince me to snag it. From the back cover: "Trigonometry has always been the black sheep of mathematics. It has a reputation as a dry and difficult subject, a glorified form of geometry complicated by tedious computation. In this book, Eli Maor draws on his remarkable talents as a guide to the world of numbers to dispel that view. Rejecting the usual arid descriptions of sine, cosine, and their trigonometric relatives, he brings the subjec to life in a compelling blend of history, biography and mathematics." 'nuff said.
Prime Obsession: Bernhard Riemann and the Greatest Unsolved Problem in Mathematics, by John Derbyshire
Again, quoting the back cover:
"The Riemann Hypothesis is one of the deepest of all unsolved problems in mathematics. Unfortunately, it is difficult to state exactly what the hypothesis iis. It is high time that someone would write a book explaining the hypothesis in ways understandable by ordinary mathematicians and even by laymen. Three cheers to Jon Derbyshire for having finally done it" - Martin Gardner
Hey, if Martin Gardner says it's good, I'll take his word for it.
Imaginary Numbers: An Anthology of Marvelous Mathematical Stories, Diversions, Poems, and Musings, edited by William Frucht
I think the title says it all, here.
Enders Game, by Orson Scott Card
Amazingly, while I've always considered myself a big fan of sci-fi (what self respecting geek doesn't, though?) I've never read Enders Game. Probably because my reading tends to go in cycles... I'll read nothing but sci-fi for a year (or more), all horror for a year or two, all mysteries for a year or two, etc.... and I've been largely away from Sci-Fi for, umm, well, a long-time. I'm feeling the urge to get more back into sci-fi now though, so I figured I might as well go ahead and read this classic.
Arithmetic and Algebra... Again, by Brita Immergut and Jean Burr Smith
See above, re: needing to brush up on basic math skills, in advance of taking Calculus (and beyond).